Winger joins Leeds United exodus as Everton move is confirmed

Leeds United winger Jack Harrison has joined Everton on a season-long loan months after signing a five-year contract.

The 26-year-old follows Robin Koch, Max Wober, Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Diego Llorente, Marc Roca, Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts in leaving this summer. All but the last two have gone on loan. Joel Robles and Adam Forshaw were also released.

It has been an eventful 12 months for Harrison, who was named in England's provisional World Cup squad in the winter, then found himself travelling to Leicester City for a medical on deadline day in January, only for Leeds to tell him at the last minute they did not want to sell him.

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As part of the promise to keep him, in April he was given a new contract which runs until the summer of 2028, but like so many of his team-mates, it contained a release clause which said that if the Whites were to be relegated – something that at that stage of the season was looking a serious possibility, he could leave on loan.

MOVING ON: Leeds United winger Jack Harrison has left on loanMOVING ON: Leeds United winger Jack Harrison has left on loan
MOVING ON: Leeds United winger Jack Harrison has left on loan

Harrison had three season-long loan spells from Manchester CIty to Leeds before finally moving permanently for £11m in the summer of 2021.

In total he has made 206 appearances for the club, scoring 34 goals.

He has been a key figure throughout his time at Elland Road, making 40 appearances last season, scoring six times, but has missed the start of this season through injury.

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Harrison is by no means the only Leeds player Everton have been linked with this summer, with the Blues thought to be at the front of the queue to sign Italy striker Willy Gnonto.

The 19-year-old has made himself unavailable for the last two matches in an attempt to engineer a move away from Elland Road after Leeds told him they were not prepared to sell. That remains their stance and Gnonto is now the subject of an internal disciplinary process.

Leeds could find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they will not want to be seen to be buckling to the teenager but by the same token manager Daniel Farke said last week he would only pick players committed to the club. The danger is that they could end up keeping a player who is not.

At least, unlike in the case of Harrison, it is Leeds' decision to make as Gnonto is not thought to have a release clause.

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The welter of loan departures has restricted their ability to bring in new players. So far, only Ethan Ampadu, Karl Darlow, Sam Barlow and loanee Joe Rodon have signed, and on Saturday Leeds did not have enough available senior players to fill the now-expanded nine-man Championship bench, even with two goalkeepers there.